When does compassion for people become the enabling of victim thinking?
Here’s a phenomenon I’ve noticed: Some people who love the QBQ! book’s message of Personal Accountability—and refuse to suffer from victim thinking themselves—will support other people’s tendency to play the victim. Even though they agree with this statement:
When I play the victim, I serve no one—not even myself.
Why some go out of their way to paint certain groups of people as victims—seeking to create a “fairer and more just world,” they’d say—is beyond me. PLEASE don’t get me wrong, we should desire to serve those who are less fortunate, but …
We’ve all seen politicians strive to convince people they are victims just to get their vote. It’s called “pandering” and it adds no value to our world. Can we agree whether we’re on the political Left or the political Right that victim thinking is not a healthy way to live?
A Mission’s Mission
As a member of the board of directors of the Denver Rescue Mission (DRM)—an organization serving the homeless since 1892—I’m pretty close to the topic of being “down and out.”
To expand on our opening question regarding the line between compassion and enabling, I turned to the CEO of DRM, Brad Meuli. I asked Brad why this venerable institution exists. In his words —
“We rescue men and women from poverty, addiction, job loss, medical issues, and from lifestyles that, quite frankly, they do not want or desire. They come to us because they know they need help. We’re an open door where they can get a meal, a bed, clothing—and a lift up out of their situation to become productive, self-sufficient citizens once again. We offer them what they lack: hope. Our goal is to see lives changed, often from ones of addiction to contributing citizens.”
Note that Brad’s statement is loaded with compassion while also providing a worthy objective: Helping people stand on their own, living lives of personal accountability.
Now that adds value to our world.
Blame Is Not The Answer
Brad’s team does not judge people, they serve people. But they also do not coddle, enable, or adopt people to the point of supporting self-pity. The DRM does not encourage its clientele to be victims who blame:
- The employer who let them go.
- The spouse who kicked them out.
- The privileged who took advantage of them.
- The family members who turned their backs on them.
- The society that didn’t provide enough “safety nets” for them.
Isn’t it true that to help people get back on their feet and make a better life for themselves and their family, we should help them not play the victim?
Victim thinking and self-pity have never served anyone. They only prevent individuals and groups from moving forward, becoming self-sufficient, and succeeding in life.
6 Truths About Self-pity
As I thought more about this message, these truths related to self-pity came to me.
Self Pity ...
- Is not productive.
- Adds no value.
- Prevents learning.
- Destroys joy.
- Solves no problems.
- Serves no one.
Isn’t it simply flat-out wrong to help others choose the path of self-pity? Wouldn’t it be best to not only keep victim thinking out of our lives but also encourage others to avoid victim thinking as well?
I believe it would be. Do you?
Let me close with my opening question while inviting you to comment!